NEW DELHI (AP) – Indian police are investigating the murder of a popular Punjabi rapper, who was mixing hip-hop, rap and folk music, a day after he was shot, authorities said on Monday.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, also known worldwide by his stage name Sidhu Moose Wala, died on Sunday evening while driving in Mansa, a district of Punjab state in northern India. Moose Wala, 28, was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Punjab State Police Chief VK Bhawra said the initial investigation revealed that the murder was a rivalry between gangs.
A day before the attack, the Punjab government had withdrawn security coverage for more than 400 people, including Moose Wala, in an attempt to crack down on VIP culture, local media said.
Moose Wala started out as a songwriter before a hit song in 2017 catapulted his singing career, making him well known among the Indian and Punjabi diaspora in countries like the UK and Canada.
Most of his singles have an English title although the songs were sung mostly in Punjabi. His brilliant music videos were most famous for their rap lyrics and often focused on sexist culture. Her debut album in 2018 reached the Billboard album list in Canada.
Moose Wala was a controversial figure, in part because of his lyrical style. In 2020, the police charged him under the Weapons Act of India for allegedly promoting the culture of weapons in one of his songs.
His latest track, “The Last Ride”, was released earlier this month.
The rapper joined the Congress Party of India last year and ran unsuccessfully in the state assembly elections.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said “no culprit will be spared” and that he was deeply shocked and saddened by the assassination.
Rahul Gandhi, a senior congressional leader, used Twitter to express his condolences for the assassination.
“Deeply shocked and saddened by the assassination of the promising Congress leader and talented artist,” he said.
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